Les Saintes, Guadeloupe
|Lying between Dominica and the main island of Guadeloupe
are the delightful islands of Les Saintes. The main island, Terre-de-Haut
is very French in nature and is served by regular ferries from Guadeloupe,
which arrive packed with tourists who come to visit the beaches and restaurants
and to enjoy the wonderful scenery. We arrived at the end of April
after a stimulating sail from Dominica, enjoying our passage through the
eastern Passe du Grand Ilet.
Above: the anchorage of Bourg des Saintes, looking South
|There are eight islands in all, but only Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas
are inhabited. The waters are incredibly clear and blue.
We initially anchored off the Yacht Club (internet access 20FF for 15 minutes), but found that the frequent ferries caused it to be rather rolly, so we moved over to the other side of the harbour, where we anchored in deeper water to the north of the town of Bourg des Saintes
Right: looking West towards Ilet a Cabrit with Terre-de-Bas in the distance
|The harbour is dominated by
Fort Napoleon, built in the mid 19th century. The barracks contain a museum
which has some interesting displays, including a recreation of the naval
Battle of the Saintes which took place in nearby waters between the French
and English forces.
Surrounding the fort are cactus gardens, which provide an amenable home for a large number of iguanas, who seem quite unafraid of the visitors.
On the way up to the fort, we were treated to some stunning vistas.
Left: On the crest of the hill,
Fort Napoleon has a commanding view of the surrounding waters
|This is one of those places where it is only too easy to put back on
any weight you may have lost. We enjoyed the excellent smoked swordfish
tarte at Le Genois so much, that we had to go back another night. At La
Saladerie the fish dishes are superb. In the morning you may hear the bell
of the yacht club delivery boat - fresh baguettes and croissants for breakfast....
Really, you could almost think you were in the Mediterranean...
Right: whitewashed walls and painted shutters help to give the main street a very continental atmosphere
Above: Pain de Sucre, with Ilet
Cabrit in the distance
|After heading up to Basse Terre, Guadeloupe to complete customs formalities, we had a cracking sail back to Les Saintes, spotting a turtle along the way. We had planned to leave the following day but the wind increased with gusts up to 30 knots and the sky was murky with a halo around the sun. Finding it impossible to make a course for Dominica, we headed back and anchored off Pain de Sucre, where the snorkelling is very good.
Bourg de Saintes
Right: view of Bourg de Saintes from the harbour
Below: We used our Brompton bicycles to get around the island. Here they are folded up, on the dinghy dock.
Right: Another Oasis...
Centre: Graham has fitted stainless security chain to the Caribe dinghy.
Right: the beach at Pain de Sucre
Below: Mmm, lovely sunsets
Right: Baie de Marigot
Below: the Barracks, which house the museum, surrounded by cactus gardens
|Below: Painting of the Battle of the Saintes and models of the French and British flagships